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Going Green with SaaS

I attended an event Saturday night for Acterra, an organization promoting environmental sustainability in the Bay Area that my wife is involved with. The Prius count in the parking lot was exceptionally high, and the vegan menu was a bit of a change from massive meat carving stations at Software 2008 earlier in the week.

I did perk up when their chairman of the board talked about their very successful new home energy audit program. It turns out the primary motivation they are seeing is that people want to know how they can reduce their carbon footprint and do their part to stop global warming.

While my own personal eco-mantra leans more toward saving money in a time of $4 gasoline and $.15 per kilowatt hour electricity, the discussion led me to think about social responsibility and being green and eco-friendly as a potential motivator for moving to SaaS.

Clearly SaaS saves a lot of energy by more efficiently using computing resources - I've seen numbers showing a 20 to 1 savings in electrical power consumption for deploying SaaS applications like Intacct or salesforce.com vs. running the same application on premise. At on average 450 watts per server, when you multiply this by tens of thousands servers you're talking about an awful lot of electricity not consumed and money not spent.

Perhaps IT folks would be able to sleep more easily at night knowing their SaaS applications are helping them save the earth. Whoever said it's not easy being green...


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